After signing off the season with a 4-1 testimonial win over Kitchee SC in Hong Kong in May, Tottenham will at last return to the pitch in tonight’s International Champions Cup match against French giants PSG.
This is obviously going to be difficult to predict, but Tottenham have been doing a lot of talk recently about the strength of the team and their desire to start the new season strong, amidst a relatively quiet transfer window in the white side of North-London.
I mean, in terms of outgoings, there’s been some good activity. We’ve got rid of some dead wood in Frederico Fazio and Clinton N’Jie, and managed to get £50 million in the bank for Walker, which isn’t a bad piece of business as far as I’m concerned, so long as it’s re-invested in the squad.
But that’s been the problem, hasn’t it? Not a single purchase so far, which has been getting one or two people a little uncomfortable. However, we’d be fools not to trust Poch with this. He’s made one or two dodgy signings over the years, but it seems as though he’s putting in a lot of effort not to rush into any deals or make any mistakes. In Poch we trust, always.
So let’s see how the team gets on. I’m sure Spurs will be looking to make a statement about their ability to compete with Europe’s elite, given that the one big disappointment from last season was Tottenham’s total haplessness in both the continental competitions.
I think that’s going to be an interesting thing to watch develop in the coming weeks. Just how will Tottenham prepare for the Champions League next season? How much should we be investing in it? Should we be signing experience for these sorts of competitions? Should we be pouring all our efforts into winning the title instead?
With those questions in mind, I think Tottenham will be taking this fixture, and the rest, very seriously, so that we know where we need to improve when up against teams of PSG’s calibre. Remember, we’re going to be a third seed in the UCL group draw and therefore likely to be drawn into a very tough group in the Champions League.
Yet, at the same time, you can bet your life on the fact that Poch will blood some youngsters too, which is a good thing. We all have a lot of faith in the current youth products at the club and there are plenty included in Poch’s 26 man squad. And hey, you never know, with Rose, Lamela and Son still injured, we might discover we have more depth than we thought if another Kane or Dele pops up.
Speaking of Kane, he continued his fine form with England in June after Tottenham had wrapped up their season, grabbing both of England’s goals in a friendly against France as well as a last minute equaliser at Hampden Park in the World Cup Qualifier away to Scotland.
We know what he’s like. I bet he can’t wait to get out there tonight and pop a few goals in. Sometimes passion and desire like that is more important than actual ability. It’s a good thing he’s got it all. But I’m not sure if Kane will start, I have the inkling that Janssen might get the nod ahead of Kane tonight.
He’s been getting slaughtered by the press this Summer. Every article I’ve read about Spurs being linked with a certain striker has slagged Janssen off for being a waste of money or out of favour with the management, which I totally disagree with. And I think Poch still has plans for Janssen, so I think we’ll see the Dutchman start the match, so that he can get going as early as possible, to find his feet.
As for PSG, they offer us our first of four tough tests this pre-season, and they’ve already played one International Champions Cup game already against Roma on Thursday, who we play on Tuesday.
As perhaps expected, PSG fielded a slightly weakened and experimental team, with Matuidi and Trapp benched while stars Di Maria, Cavani and Veratti were not even included in the match-day squad. The result was a 1-1 draw, which PSG won 5-3 on penalties, in which new signing Dani Alves made his debut appearance following his free transfer from Juventus.
I think most would have expected the French side to win outright, so maybe relying on the penalty shoot-out was a little surprising. PSG themselves have been very vocal about their desire to re-invest this Summer, with remarkable reports suggesting Les Parisiens will make considerable efforts to sign both Neymar and Alexis Sanchez this Summer.
So, psychologically, maybe this team doesn’t feel at it’s best, maybe they’re feeling a tad weaker than they should be, whereas Spurs are feeling stronger than they’ve ever been before and ready to take the game to PSG.
I don’t know really, it’s difficult trying to analyse this match, especially when Spurs haven’t played a game for two months. We’ll have some rustiness to shake off and some team-work to build up again, no doubt. So I’m going with a draw, a hard fought draw. 2-2 and a penalty victory for Tottenham, because why not? It’s about time a team I supported won a penalty shoot-out.
I of course could have this all wrong, so feel free to tell me what’s what below. What do you think the score will be? And what line-up are you expecting from Poch tonight?
PSG take on Tottenham at 8pm local time in Orlando at the Camping World Stadium, which means you’ll have to stay up through the early hours to watch this one. Kick-off is at 1:05am for us in the UK and you can watch live on TV on Premier Sports.
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